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2020 Poetry

Gabriella R. Tallmadge

HOTEL

Your kiss said rooms of bison, tasting of bright

history—final and rundown. You said nothing

until I roamed to your mouth, your jars, your door

to color. I was not a girl in that room.

You said I was godly, your last. It was the snow

in your empty hands. Your fur at midnight,

its black carry. The stars were ticking

with milk in the sky’s old balcony.

I could not contain my stay for you. You

who pinned a ruined prayer to my collar.

Each night I drowned under the drumming

of the ocean’s great retelling and at morning

you’d wake with my skin in your teeth

like bread in the mouth of the starving.


Gabriella R. Tallmadge is a Latinx writer and educator from San Diego, California. Her poetry has received awards from the Hedgebrook Writer in Residence Program, the Community of Writers Workshop, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Gabriella’s poems have previously appeared in The Georgia Review, Crazyhorse, Guernica, Mid-American Review, and Best New Poets. You can find links to more of her work at www.grtallmadge.com.